The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation released a statement that said an expansion to the Woodbine Racetrack gaming facility could generate between million and million in city revenues. They said those estimates are conservative, and also said expanding the racetrack could bring in an additional million in hosting funds, for a combined estimate of nearly million a year.
The gambling facility, built in 2000, houses about 3,000 slot machines. The report said under Ontario Lottery and Gaming rules, the facility would be allowed a maximum of 5,000 machines and 300 table games.
Mayor John Tory and city council will have to decide whether or not the expansion should go through. “We’re not doing it just for the sake of allowing a casino up there where there are already slot machines and horse racing, but that we are doing it as part of encouraging development of a much bigger and bolder entertainment and economic activity complex,” Tory said.
Councillor Mike Layton said the report is ripe with “empty political promises.” Layton said, “We’re putting the cart before the horse. We’re saying ‘yes’ on conditions that won’t be considered as part of the contract. We’re not sure where our conditions stand.” Layton went on to say money would be taken out of a local economy and putting just a tiny bit back in the city.
An Ipsos Reid poll found that 34 percent of residents support an expansion, 25 percent are against it, while 41 percent have mixed feelings or are unsure.